Exciting research was announced on Wednesday, suggesting that a regular diet of tomatoes may help in the fight to lower the risk of prostate cancer in men. A study out of the United Kingdom (UK) says that men who consume at least 10 portions of tomatoes in their diet each week reduce their risk for prostate cancer by nearly 20 percent.
Worldwide, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among males. In the UK, there are around 35,000 new cases and nearly 10,000 deaths each year. Nutrition and cancer experts believe that a high salt and fat loaded westernized diet is linked to the higher prostate cancer rate in developed countries like the UK and the United States. To lower the risk of cancer, health and nutrition experts state that a diet low in fat, salt, and processed and red meats and high in vegetables and fruits, including tomatoes may help.
Researchers from the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Bristol studied the diets of 12,005 men without cancer and 1,806 men with prostate cancer between the age of 50 and 69. By following the diet and lifestyle of the 20,000 men, researchers were able to determine that a weekly diet that included 10 portions of tomatoes, along with other fruits and vegetables reduced the cancer risk in the cancer free men in the study.
The team of researchers from the University of Bristol found that men who added at least 10 portions of tomatoes, baked beans and tomato juice to their weekly diet witnessed a risk reduction of 18 percent in the fight against prostate cancer. The study also determined that men could reduce the risk by 24 percent by eating five servings of vegetables and fruit a day. This was in comparison to men who ate two and a half servings or less each day.
Bristol University’s Vanessa Er, who was part of the research team from the School of Social and Community Medicine, reported that the findings of the study suggested that tomatoes and baked beans, could be an important tool in the prevention of prostate cancer. The researchers will need to conduct further studies to confirm the findings. The further studies will include clinical trials with men at risk for prostate cancer.
However, the researchers did state that men should maintain a weight healthy for them, eat a healthy diet that includes a variety of vegetables and fruit. Combining that with a healthy, active lifestyle should promote a healthier lifestyle. Adding the 10 portions of tomatoes to this healthy diet appear to increase cancer fighting. The properties that add to the cancer-fighting of tomatoes are believed to be from lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that can add protection from cell damage and further DNA damage.
Another pair of prostate cancer-fighting dietary components being reviewed along with tomatoes in the research study were Selenium and calcium. Calcium, found in dairy foods like cheese, milk and yogurt and selenium, which is found in pasta and breads have also found to have links to prostate cancer. Researchers found that the men in the study who had a balanced diet with all three of these dietary components showed a lower risk for prostate cancer.
By Carl Auer